London's Burning

The television drama series, London’s Burning, focused on the firefighters of the London Fire Brigade, including their professional and personal lives. It began with a television pilot movie, aired on 7th December 1986, when viewers were introduced to the staff of the fictional Blackwall fire station.

The two-hour film was written by Jack Rosenthal and unlike the subsequent television series, it was more of a black comedy than a drama series, although it highlighted some serious issues. The series, produced by London Weekend Television for ITV, began on 20th February 1988 and ran for 14 series, until 25th August 2002.

Background

Produced by Paul Knight and with a team of writers including David Humphries, Anita Bronson, Tony Hoare and Simon Sharkey, in the early series, episodes were filmed at the real Dockhead fire station in Bermondsey.

Actual firefighters were the extras in the programme, with the fire station's mess room, watch room and bay being used as filming locations. However, for the crowded mess scenes, a studio near the fire station was used so that filming wouldn't detract from the serious business of fighting fires.

Each episode ran for 50 minutes and featured every type of incident, from firefighters rescuing cats stuck up trees to tackling dangerous blazes. The cast and crew had to be especially careful when filming some scenes, due to the genuine risks of the real fires created for the plot.

Characters

The main characters included assistant divisional officer Nick Georgiadis (played by Andrew Kazamia) who as a disciplinarian, wasn't impressed with what he perceived as a lack of discipline when he first arrived at the station. However, once he settled in, he became something of a father figure to some of the young firefighters.

Station officer John Hallam (played by Sean Blowers) was uptight and a henpecked husband in his private life. He tried for promotion, but was always unsuccessful. He suffered a major trauma in one episode when he was trapped underneath a collapsed wall. Sadly, Hallam died after nine series, when he fell 80 feet while tackling a warehouse blaze.

Firefighter Malcolm Cross (played by Rupert Baker) was the station prankster. He received a bravery commendation for rescuing a man who had been buried alive as a result of an accident at a building site. It was a happy ending for Cross in series five, when he left for a new life in Brussels with his girlfriend.

Sub-officer Geoff Pearce (played by Michael Garner) had the nickname "Poison" because he was always spreading malicious gossip. He was also known for grovelling around senior officers and wasn't popular among colleagues. However, in later series, after marrying and having a daughter, he became slightly less pompous and more well-respected.

The first female firefighter was Josie Ingham (played by Katharine Rogers). Initially shunned by her male colleagues who didn't want a woman in their ranks, she was good at her job and was eventually promoted to leading firefighter.

Plots

Each week, there would be a self-contained plot about the emergency in hand, interwoven with ongoing storylines about the firefighters' working and personal lives.

There have been some unusually dangerous situations for the firefighters, including tackling a leaking nuclear container, rescuing workmen trapped under scaffolding on the banks of the Thames, a chemical fire, a blaze on board a ship, a train derailment and window cleaners trapped in a high-rise cradle.

Other episodes have included a plane crashing in central London, children involved in a coach crash, a lift accident, an explosion at a marina, a child trapped in a burning car, a boy trapped down a well, a suicidal man who has climbed up a crane, a bomb scare and a woman trapped inside a burning library, to name but a few.

During the series' 172 episodes, the firefighters have dealt with every type of crisis imaginable, with very little loss of life, compared with the number of emergencies they've encountered.

Fire marshals’ emergency app

ISGUS UK’s innovative ZEUS® Roll Call app is suitable for fire marshals in case of an emergency. It is an extension of the proven ZEUS® X mobile app for mobile clocking and employee self-service.

Using the Roll Call App, fire marshals can use their mobile phone to view who was present in the building when the fire alarm sounded – so they can be ticked off the list as they arrive at the assembly point. This alerts them to anyone potentially trapped inside the building.

Easy to use, various filters and search functions allow the user to have a quick and colour-coded overview of the situation.

Employees are marked as “open” - meaning they have not yet been seen at the assembly point - or “secure” when they have arrived at the assembly point and been ticked off. They are marked as “punched out” if they were absent at the moment of the fire. A notepad function completes the new ISGUS Fire Roll Call App, enabling the user to add a comment for each person.

For any further information, please contact us on 01793 766211 or use our handy contact form.